Two Alabama school districts were placed on the College Board’s 2nd Annual AP® District Honor Roll for significant gains in Advanced Placement® access and student performance. Those districts are: Cleburne County Schools, AL and Hartselle City Schools, AL.
The AP District Honor Roll nationally recognizes and acknowledges districts’ successes and efforts to expand AP access, performance, and commitment to increasing student achievement. Only 367 districts were selected nationwide this year.
Inclusion on the 2nd Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on the following criteria:
• Examination of three years of AP data, from 2009 to 2011;
• Increase in participation in/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts and at least 11 percent in small districts;
• A steady or increasing percentage of exams taken by African-American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native students; and
• Performance levels maintained or improved when comparing the percentage of students in 2011 scoring a 3 or higher to those in 2009, or the school has already attained a performance level in which more than 70 percent of the AP students are scoring a 3 or higher.
• School districts in which low-income and/or underrepresented minority students (African-American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native) comprise 30 percent or more of the AP student population have been highlighted on the Achievement List to recognize significant improvements in equity and quality among the nation’s historically underserved student populations.
“Participation in college-level AP courses can level the playing field for underserved students, give them the confidence needed to succeed in college, and raise standards and performance in key subjects like science and math,” said College Board President Gaston Caperton. “The AP Honor Roll districts are defying expectations by expanding access while enabling their students to maintain or improve their AP Exam scores.”
Many school districts in the U.S. and Canada have focused on expanding access to AP courses as part of a strategy to improve college readiness. While these efforts have resulted in more students earning scores of 3 or better, these efforts have also resulted in more students earning scores of 1 or 2. Accordingly, there has been a slight decline since 2001 in the percentage of AP students scoring a 3 or better, a decline that can be expected in any program attracting a broader cross section of students.
Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. Many are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to expand access and improve student performance simultaneously.
“These school districts have achieved something truly remarkable. They managed to open the doors of their AP classrooms to many more students, while also increasing the percentage of students earning high enough AP Exam grades to stand out in the competitive college admission process and qualify for college credit and placement,” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president of Advanced Placement and College Readiness.